Greenbuddies NewsUpdates from the world of renewable energy

Greenbuddies tips – May 2021 18.05.2021

Source: Shutterstock

Electric Bus Charging

Quiet and non-polluting, electric buses have many advantages over their diesel counterparts. A few years ago, the majority of electric buses came in the form of minibuses as a result of the size and weight of batteries. Now manufacturers are designing electric buses of all sizes thanks to massive improvements in battery technology for electric mobility. The battery charging method also requires adaptations to existing infrastructure on routes and depots.

Slow charging at the depot is the most common method. Recharging time depends on the charging station power. It usually takes between 4 and 6 hours to fully charge the batteries- this is usually done once a day and often overnight. An additional recharge can be made during the day if buses return to the depot. The connection of the charging cable is done manually. A load supervision solution optimizes electricity consumption (smart charging) and ensures that the power limit at the depot is not exceeded.

Electric bus recharging solutions are evolving with fast charging. The new charging method consists of several quick recharges outside of the depot when the bus is at stops on the route or at the terminal station. Several manufacturers have come together with a solution whereby the bus is recharged through physical contact with an inverted pantograph. This means that it is no longer necessary to connect a cable in order to recharge the bus! In addition, these systems make it possible to reduce the weight of the on-board batteries, which in return makes it possible to reduce the weight of vehicles and so carry more passengers.

Electricity for bus recharging can be produced locally with photovoltaic systems to achieve 100% emission free transport. Shanghai has set up the very first solar power project for a bus depot in the PRC. Covering nearly 2000 m2, the solar panels provide enough energy to recharge 6 buses at the same time. The system also provides energy for other purposes at the facility and even feeds electricity back to the grid.
The future is undoubtedly one wherein green energy becomes the norm, and transport shall very quickly turn all-electric. Governments worldwide are facilitating this transition by supporting programs for the acquisition of electric vehicles and for the installation of new EV charging alongside renewable energy infrastructure. The e-Mobility revolution is inevitable and unstoppable. At Greenbuddies Charging, we are proud to be involved in this change together with our customers and partners!

Repowering 

In recent years, repowering on solar power plants has been increasing in the German solar market. Repowering on a solar power plant means the replacement of individual components, most often the solar modules. These replacements can be brought about due to various situations such as failure of the components, damage or theft. Most solar parks secure their revenues by the fixed price. Therefore, the owner wants to generate as much electricity as possible whilst simultaneously following all the rules so as not to commit fraud.

Accelerated degradation is also considered as part of damage to modules. Over the years the German network agency set a limit for what is considered natural degradation, the surpassing of which means accelerated degradation. The limit is degradation exceeding 10 % of original power during 10 years of module operation. The repowering of a PV plant whilst maintaining the subsidy is possible if complying with several conditions: new module power cannot be in sum greater than the original power output of the old power plant. Alongside this, old modules need to be disposed of by a certified company and in case the modules are changed due to accelerated degradation (under the 90 % of nominal out power in 10 years lifetime), the degradation must be caused by technological reasons, not by the i.e. dusting of modules etc.

Greenbuddies has already participated on several larger repowering projects over 3 MW. In reality this means to dismounting all the old modules, and careful preparation for transport. This is because the modules are often sent for testing before disposal at the manufacturer post-dismount, as they usually hold the guarantee for degradation. Furthermore, the DC strings must be adjusted since the new modules are more powerful, leading to differences in length of the strings. Before the start of a repowering project, careful planning is required gauging what material is fit for reuse, and what is in need of replacement. Usually old string cables in the ground can be reused, as well as some of the clamps if not affected by corrosion etc.

The repowering of a solar plant is often just as time consuming as the regular construction of a new solar plant as a result of the complexity. The same amount of time is spent on dismounting modules as would usually be spent on ramming and substructure completion. Placement of new modules is then similar to that on a new Pv plant, as it is with the string adjustment and measurements. The only advantage in the perspective of time is the absence of AC works at a repowering project. However, this is not always the case as exchanging old modules with new ones often opens up space on the substructure (due to the increased power of new modules). This free capacity can then be used to expand the power plant if extra capacity in the distribution network is available. An example of this is a project where we are completing repowering of an originally 5.7MW plant – the placement of modern modules allowed for an extra 1.5MW to be placed on the existing substructure, thereby increasing power generation by 25% on the same surface area as compared to 10 years ago.

Source: SPR Energie

New Sales Consultant on Board of Greenbuddies

We are getting more and more involved into the DACH market. This market is a key market for Greenbuddies since solar is increasing in popularity and strongly subsidized. Therefore is proved we need to have excellent people on ground in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to get close on new opportunities. From this year Jarmil Slesinger joined the team and we bring you an interview with him.

1) What has surprised you most about working with Greenbuddies?
It is stunning, how quickly a solar system can be built. One you have finished all the paperwork, teams of professionals start their orchestration and a new plant or rooftop installation is literally growing under your hands. Often people returning from their vacation and seeing a new PV plant do not believe their eyes.
2) What would you tell someone who is thinking about building a PV plant?
Do it, whatever the motivation is. Lower energy bills, preserving the Earth’s finite fossil-fuel resources or reducing air pollution. At the end of the day, all of these will apply and not only for the owner, it is a win for all of us. Our planet profits from each installed solar panel.

3) What do you think will change about the PV world over the next years?
Every European country is already working on a green agenda, plans how to become carbon neutral. For example, Austria plans to reboot its tax laws in 2022 and now evaluates the best way to put a price on ecologically destructive activities. China announced to reach carbon neutrality before 2060, following an earlier European Union commitment to do the same already by 2050. Electric cars are often in the headlines, but carbon neutrality will impact all parts of our lives and the importance of solar systems will continuously grow. In addition, further enhancements of energy storage systems will be critical to increase the ability of PV systems to replace the existing energy sources and enable long term turn in the energy market.

4) As a part of the PV team, what sorts of actual challenges do you see?
The spread of COVID-19 has heavily impacted global economics. Industries like tourism, airlines, and retail industry suffered immediately in the first quarters, but subsequent restrictions impacted production of raw materials and components and the shortages in the logistic did not satisfy global market demands. These days the ordering process takes much longer than usual and increased raw material prices negatively impact the costs.

5) What do you do when you aren’t working?
I love being exposed to new places, people, and cultures. I like to travel independently without prepared holiday packages. It does not matter if the destination is far or just behind your backyard. I love to taste and smell the local food, discover special places, and have a plan that may change at any given moment. Sometimes I stay off beaten paths because some places cannot be discovered without getting lost.
6) How would (someone) describe you?
Tireless optimist 🙂

Greenbuddies tips – April 2021 21.04.2021


Source: Unsplash

The Greenbuddies Charging team continues to grow

The development of our business goes hand in hand with the need to add new experienced colleagues to our team. Human capital is our main asset. It is therefore not surprising that we try to pay maximum attention to the selection of suitable candidates and their education.

At the beginning of March, our project management department was strengthened by Mr. Pavel Vycpálek. I decided to interview him a little for the current issue of our newsletter.

1) Hi Pavel, I remember very well that when we started talking about your future involvement in Greenbuddies Charging (GBC), you worked as a Quality Engineer in the automotive industry. What did the position actually mean and what parallel could you observe there with your current position with us?

Yes, for the last 15 years I have worked as a Quality Engineer – a customer service specialist. This meant that I was in charge of several customers (Audi / Porsche / Lamborghini / Bentley / Daimler / Wabco / Scania / ZF) in the product segment of manufactured switches at the TRW Benešov plant. the last two years the company was called BCS-AIS Benešov. The main task was to deal with complaints about switches via portals or on site in car manufacturers. The next step was sampling and introducing new switches directly in car manufacturers or steering wheel manufacturers.
To the point of the question, I rather saw more of a parallel between my current role in GBC and my previous position at TRW, when I worked in the new projects department. This meant securing everything about the new project (product) in the parent plant (production line / technology / workflows, etc.) with the Program Manager, who worked in our management plant in Germany where the entire team of designers was based.

2) What was the most awkward work situation you got into before the Greenbuddies and how did it turn out?

During my time at TRW (29 years), there were a lot of situations and it’s hard to say which was the most awkward.
One that could be highlighted was my first and also my last business trip to Tunisia to the steering wheel manufacturer. After arriving in the capital Tunis I rented a car, went to a hotel in Monastir and the next day went to the designated address of the production plant. I set off a little earlier and the navigation took me to a city. However, I did not find the production plant. So I reached the gas station and asked if there was such a thing in this city. I don’t speak Arabic and it was almost impossible to speak English. Finally, colleagues from Autoliv called me and asked where I was, they were waiting for me at a gas station of a particular brand. I told them that I was standing at the pump of the same brand, but we did not see each other. So I sent them a picture of my car and the place via the Whatsapp application. Eventually we found out that we were about 30 km apart. I got in the car again, drove back, and they were waiting for me as soon as I entered the city. In the end, the visit was very successful and both parties were satisfied.

3) You have had a month and a half of work for GBC now, so what are your impressions so far? What surprised you pleasantly, and on the contrary, what did you really not expect at all?
I must say that I was surprised by a very friendly and nice team with which it will definitely be great to cooperate. And what surprised me – everything is completely new to me, so I have to learn a lot. I had some knowledge about solar energy, but most other things are new to me.
4) I know that you live in a medium-sized city just outside Prague (after all, there are more of us like that in Greenbuddies). What advantages or disadvantages do you see in this?

I have lived in my hometown since my birth and I am satisfied here. I have everything at hand here and when I need to dive into the big city, I get in the car and I’m there in 30 minutes.

5) What subjects did you enjoy the most at school?

At school I liked history and especially physical education, because I’m sports-based. My biggest interest is in football, which I have been playing since I was 6 years old.

6) The Corona pandemic is now perhaps an overly frequent topic. Still, I ask – what about you and COVID?

COVID – this is one big unknown for each of us. It has a thousand different forms and attacks each one differently.
I myself also went through the illness last autumn and it was not pleasant. At first I had two days of fever and after testing I scored a positive result. This was followed by 13 days of unpleasant fevers, and on the last day, a breathing problem also appeared. Later it turned out that I suffered from bilateral pneumonia, followed by a CT scan, which revealed in addition pulmonary embolism. I was immediately transferred to Covid’s department, where I spent 7 days on drips, antibiotics, vitamins,minerals and all day use of an oxygen mask. By some miracle and good care on the part of the doctors I was released home after 7 days in a relatively good condition. Then I had to stay at home for another two and a half months. Now I will still have to go through a 3-week stay in the spa to get my breathing back to normal.

7) Will you tell us something about yourself that you have not yet told anyone?

That’s something I would really like to keep to myself 😊.

Thanks Pavel for the interview, we wish you good luck and success in Greenbuddies Charging.

Battery storage as a catalyst for future energy development?

On a daily basis one can read about the fact that the future development of energy is associated with decentralization, decarbonisation and the accelerating development of renewable energy sources (RES) in the media. Unstable RES represents a great challenge for the existing electricity networks of all developed countries. The transmission and distribution networks need stability and predictability.

Arguably, the future of the energy industry will not be made possible without storage systems that shall help maintain the stability and quality of supply. Energy storage systems are based on various technologies, including battery energy storage systems (BESS). Therefore, it is quite clear that energy storage systems will become an integral part of the energy system of the future.
Battery-based electricity storage is a highly promising solution. These make it possible to store excess electricity for a time when an increase of supply due to growing demand is required. In this way, they effectively assist the ability to balance the supply and demand for electricity at each point in time.
Let’s look at electricity storage in Europe by type and prevalence:

Battery storage

The most common technology is lithium-ion batteries, which is based on a technology similar to rechargeable consumer batteries that we are all familiar with from home use. However, there are other types of battery storage technologies such as so-called flow batteries, which are large-volume storage tanks with a longer service life.

Mechanical energy storage

Typical representatives are pumped storage hydropower plants. They store energy in the form of water which is expelled by excess electricity to a higher position, from which it is discharged back when needed to drive the turbine. However, energy can also be stored, for example, in the form of compressed air stored in large reservoirs. Flywheels are another type of mechanical storage.

Thermal storage

As a typical example, we can imagine a solar tower that concentrates sunbeams through a system of mirrors in one place and stores the heat obtained in, for instance, molten salt. The energy can later be used to heat water for the steam to subsequently drive a turbine producing electricity.

Power-to-Gas

This refers to the conversion of excess electricity into gaseous fuels (hydrogen or methane), which can then be injected into the natural gas distribution system and thus store energy. It is also possible to produce synthetic methane from hydrogen during further processing.

The data sources are the Study on Energy Storage – Contribution to Security of Electricity Supply in Europe, published by the European Commission in May last year, and the Database of European Technologies and Equipment for Energy Storage from the EC current as of March 2020. The data includes those that are still at a certain stage of the project and those of which construction has been announced.

It is also interesting to look at the status of installed storage systems in individual European countries:

The graph above shows the installed power of active electricity storage systems in individual countries. As you can see, the number is not the only important parameter, the United Kingdom for instance is losing significantly here compared to the previous statistics. The advantage of solar and wind power plants is, as is well known, the absence of emissions from electricity production, or even self-sufficiency. On the other hand, there are also problems associated with renewables. One of the challenges is their dependence on the weather, due to which they cannot produce energy continuously and consistently. It is sometimes the case that they even produce too much. It is for this reason that the grid must be able to respond to these fluctuations and flexibly increase or decrease the supply of electricity to the system.
Until now, the flexibility of the network has been solved mainly by means of gas and partly through coal-fired power plants. These are to an extent advantageous with the possibility of fast start-up and power regulation. As I pointed out earlier, in the future, this way of maintaining balance in the network will become less important due to the reduction of the share of fossil resources in total output. Renewables on the other hand will grow, so the ability to flexibly balance the ratio between immediate supply and consumption in the system will need to be further strengthened. That’s why energy storage has become such a topical issue.

 

The European Commission expects that during the course of this decade, EU countries will still use conventional power plants and cross-border interconnections of individual national systems to compensate for fluctuations in the system. Howev

er, the EU’s forecast clearly relies on the importance of electricity storage having grown rapidly by 2030. Today, about 90 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity of pumped storage and battery storage facilities are in operation or at least at some stage of development in Europe. By the end of the decade Europe will need up to 110 GW according to a study by the European Commission. This increase ought to be realized primarily through batteries. Wondering why batteries instead of the other aforementioned concepts? They offer the possibility of immediate energy supply in the event of a prolonged outage or a major blackout. Storage systems are also relatively versatile in terms of their deployment – you can install them in the form of standard containers virtually anywhere. In addition to this, we now live in a time when great emphasis is put on the environmental friendliness of new technologies and battery systems have a great advantage in environmental safety – they do not release any unwanted pollutants into the environment.

As part of the company’s business strategy, we at Greenbuddies Charging firmly believe that the installation of battery storage systems will increasingly become an integral part of complete solutions for the construction of solar power plants as well as charging infrastructure for electromobility.

Increase of transport and metal prices in solar business

The COVID-19 pandemic has without doubt affected most businesses around the globe. Some of them in a negative way (e.g. hospitality and tourist industry, airlines etc.) and some ramped up enormously after the initial hiccup in the spring of 2020.. We are in many ways fortunate to be a part of the technological sector, meaning that we belong to the second aforementioed catagory.

Governments began printing cash in order to fulfil economy support programs. The resulting surplus of money in the market allowed companies and individuals to increase spending which subsequently boosted demand for both transport and resources. However, the supply side had still been recovering from the lockdown and therefore did not allocate sufficient capacity for the coming demand storm.

The combination of a shortage on the supply side and a simultanious outburst on the demand side resulted in a huge increase of freight cost. This issues were mainly concentrated in container ship transport where prices had multiplied when compared to the previous spring. The same issue applied for metallurgical industry. Copper prices broke ten years old records and aluminium and steel followed a similar pattern. The biggest contributor to the situation was China bouncing back after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since the whole sector of renewable energy development remains largely dependant on these inputs, the costs of solar parks have risen accordingly. Solar modules and inverters are mostly shipped from China on container ships, aluminium is utilized in AC cables and mounting systems, copper as a great conductor is used for DC cabling or transformer wiring and carrying structures are made of steel.

Copper price course

Copper price course. Source: https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/commodities/hg%3Acmx

The whole situation made any predictions in the solar field market much more difficult due to shifting component prices. Calculations could change over short periods of time, meaning the initial ones would no longer be valid. Manufacturers reflected the roller coaster-like market behavior in the sense that offer validity in some cases just reached a couple of days. This is of course a nightmare for anyone who is responsible for budget planning. The experts envisage the prices will settle down after a while- some businesses are hedging their bets and shifting projects to the next year. However, nobody can tell when the settling down of the market will take place and what the new price level will be.

Market Footprint 1Q 2021 13.04.2021

Good afternoon,

The COVID-19 pandemic has without any doubt affected most businesses around the globe. Some of them in a negative way (e.g. hospitality and tourist industry, airlines etc.), and some ramped up enormously after the initial hiccup in the spring of 2020. Solar business luckily belong to those that are less affected.

At Greenbuddies we mainly noticed a shifting of projects rather than their cancellation. Demand for energy is ever-present and the only way to meet this demand in the foreseeable future while mitigating the environmental impact is through investing in renewable energies.

Probably the biggest impact COVID has had, causing headaches for all budget planners (not only) in the solar field, has been the immense increase of metal and transport prices- resulting in the total cost of PV plants to elevate by tens of percentage points.

Despite the encountered challenges we have delivered over 410 MWp of solar parks over the last 3 years, and we intend to continue increasing this number. Furthermore, we have established ourselves as a strong partner for automotive solutions comprising carports and EV chargers combined with battery storage systems. Details you can see – as every quarter – in our Market footprint.

We encompass:

Partial and complete construction
Repowering
Turn-key EPC delivery
Professional energy consulting
O&M on freefield, roofs and parking lots

Scale is not an issue either. Amongst our references you can find installations from several hundreds of kWp up to over 130 MWp freefield giants.
We strongly believe we can build the green future together. In case you have any projects that you would like to discuss with us, please do not hesitate to contact us or anyone within our team. We will be keen to look at your RFQ and related project documents in order to provide you with the best offer for our services.

Best regards

Greenbuddies tips – March 2021 18.03.2021

Source: Adobe Stock

Battery Storage System Markets Have Taken Off

In this issue of our Newsletter we decided to invite our Battery Storage System product manager, Marc Sottana, to address a hot topic in the renewable energy market. – We will specifically discuss the latest in the segment of battery storage solutions, a sector that is very close to our hearts at Greenbuddies Charging.

Battery storage is the fastest responding source of power on grids, and is used for multiple purposes, obviously stabilising grids in general, shaving or shifting peaks of consumption, ensuring uninterrupted power supply in power-outage sensitive types of operations, completing consumption diagrams for renewable system operators, etc. Battery storage systems may be used to shape fully-fledged power plants used for short-term peak power and ancillary services, such as providing operating reserve and frequency control to minimize the chance of power outages.

Battery costs have more than halved in the last five years. Battery storage has benefited from the economy of scale in the automotive sector and around 90% of lithium battery demand will still come from EVs over the next two decades. Specifically designed for PV + storage applications, this year the first lithium battery storage solution providing a 20-year performance guarantee was released to the market.
Falling prices and maturing battery technologies are taking the industry into a new phase of economic viability. The fast changing electricity system is beginning to realise the value of battery energy storage.
There exists a strong potential for battery energy storage to provide ancillary services to support grid stability. Last February the resulting collapse in power generation in Texas left millions without electricity. Less than 3 weeks later it was made public that Tesla is building a massive 100-megawatt energy storage in Texas to improve the efficiency of the grid and increase capacity at peak hours.
Behind the meter, residential PV + storage is actually the most dynamic market with support of subsidies for self-consumption in most European countries. For customers, savings on electricty bills are up to 70% and a return on investment is made in less than 10 years.
Last public green policies are now creating new oportunities to boost the development of micro-grids and self-consumption in commercial and industrial markets. Investing on a PV + battery storage solution turns the variable cost of electricity into a fixed cost for a 20 years minimum period while saving money. Electric vehicle charging applications for residential and commercial markets are going to grow at a phenomenal rate. The number of installations combining solar roofs, battery energy storage and charging stations for EVs is increasing rapidly. There are 10 million EVs on the road today, forecasts expect 100 million in 2030 and 400 million after 2040.
Choosing a battery energy storage system involves developing a long-term vision whereby a wide range of technical, environmental, legal and financial parameters come into play. 
At Greenbuddies Charging, we assembled a team of experts to support our customers across all stages of their battery energy storage project: consulting, feasibility studies, delivery, installation, commissioning and maintenance. 

Greenbuddies Charging continues to build strong partnerships with key players in the rapidly evolving PV and battery storage industry.
At Greenbuddies Charging, we love to share our experience – if you want to share your project with us, do not hesitate to contact us!

Soil Report As An Important Part Of  The Project Documentation

A soil report is an important document for every ground-based project. Through this report we are able to obtain information about soil properties on a given location where a power plant is to be constructed. As a result of collecting this information we are able to estimate the extent to which an anchoring construction will be challenging, thus having an effect on the cost and speed of eventual assembly.

In a case where the soil is permeable and the construction can be anchored securely, the columns are hammered into the soil directly – this way of column installing is called ramming. On the other hand, if the soil is not permeable or is packed with stones, the process of ramming will damage the pillars. In this case it is necessary to drill holes for pillars first, after which the pillars can be placed. Once these are placed in position, the holes are filled with concrete to ensure utmost dependability. It is also possible to drill the holes, fill them with concrete and whilst the concrete is still in a fluid state, place the pillars.
Prior to commencing the assembly of a solar park with an output of 3 MWp in Wriezen near Berlin, Germany, we received a soil report conveying that the ground is primarily made up of sand, thus suitable for simply ramming the pillars. However, in the very early stages of ramming, we realized that despite there being sand, there were also plenty of rocks – making the process more complicated. Specifically speaking, this unforeseen circumstance caused some pillars to be damaged during the process, or they rotated into the wrong position after touching with a stone in the soil. The end result was that we needed to change the method of installation through the use of diamond drilling to prepare holes for pillars first, then install the pillars into the right position and finally fill the holes with fast-drying and frost proof concrete. Without these changes in the method of installation the construction would be cheaper, and the implementation time would be shortened.
As a result of this experience we are acutely more aware of the importance of performing a well-founded and detailed soil report, as the accuracy of the outcomes could have a massive impact on initial investment as well as duration predictions. It is therefore of the highest interest to both the investor and the contractor that the study on which the soil report is based is of exceptional quality.

Mobilization Within 14 Days During Construction High Season

Less than two weeks had passed since the signing of the contract for the complete construction of a 15.6 MWp ground-based PV plant in France, and two excavators began digging the first trenches. We were expected to dig 2,000 m3 – almost double the usual amount – due to the fact that the location was divided by a service road into three sectors.

The ramming of the pilots was slowed down as a result of coming across large stones in the ground. We even came across an immovable “dead rock” as local French farmers call it, in three places. We hammered the pilots as best we could and subsequently performed tensile tests- verifying that we would meet the calculated pulling forces as the embedment depth was lower than required. We developed a new method of strengthening and extending the piles so that we could achieve the required values without concrete foundations as a result of the soil being too soft in 26 places. The landowner wished to keep his land in its original condition, thus piles without concrete foundations were required. Having sorted out all the above, at the end of October we supplemented our Orteco 800 driving machine with a powerful ARMIVAN AI1200, helping us ram more than 10,000 pilots in terrain with a slope of over 5 ° east-west.
The general contractor’s requirement was to place half of the panels and hang the inverters by Christmas. This was essential so that the conditions of the construction insurance were met, meaning and there was no need to take out additional insurance increasing the construction costs. The first three containers arrived on Friday December 4th. Despite unpredictable Covid-19 travel restrictions, we were able to increase our staff to 75 for the two weeks before Christmas. Thanks to the maximum effort of all the people and machinery involved we managed to lay almost 17,000 panels and install all 50 pieces Sungrow SG250HX inverters in 10 days.
Cooperation with the locals proved to be very useful for us. The French locksmith quickly made us jigs for straightening the assembly system, while the farmer’s neighbor transported the boxes with panels by tractor and trailer all over the construction site. This meant that we could get them to the distant corners of the PV plant faster and without too much difficulty. The only disappointment we faced was that the French bureaucracy took three-months to issue a construction auxiliary grid connection. We intend to learn from this experience for following projects by applying for a connection well in advance – allowing us to be energetically green from the very beginning.
Measurement and preparation for commissioning is currently underway with the participation of our elite team of electricians. In this project the client’s requirements are above standard in all respects. DC strings are measured at 1500 V in accordance with IEC 62446-1. In addition to Voc, Isc, Riso and polarity, we also measure irradiation, air and module temperature. To measure the I-V curve, the standard requires irradiation of at least 400 W / m2. We, however, must wait for a beautiful sunny day to be able to make the required measurements due to the fact that the client requires more than 700 W / m2 to make the values reflect actual conditions. A special measuring car had to come to Paris to measure VLF medium-voltage cables, as this test is not standard in France.
We are already working on another project in the vicinity for a large local construction company- having been impressed by our our quality work and particularly the full EPC delivery. We believe that we will start the new project in 4Q, 2021 and take advantage of the favourable climate and thus extend the construction season. A significant contribution to the smooth progress of the construction was the personal participation of native Frenchman Marc Sottana who, in addition to project management, mainly deals with battery storage technologies at Greenbuddies Charging, s.r.o.

Greenbuddies tips – February 2021 19.02.2021

Source: Rivian.com

Rivian – a new threat to Tesla?

Only few today doubt that Tesla is one of the most progressive and innovative car manufacturers that has emerged in the last few decades. Over the past couple of years it has built a strong position among manufacturers of luxury electric cars, which, with all due respect, none of the existing premium cars in the world have actually been able to threaten. However, this can change relatively quickly. Why and how? There are several reasons.

Rumours about robust plans to build electric vehicles of Apple, one of the world’s most valuable companies, and GM’s announcements suggest that the new era of battery-powered cars and trucks is gaining momentum. Today, however, we will focus on another potential competitor of Tesla. It is an extremely ambitious project, associated with Jeff Bezos, or better said with his logistics giant Amazon, as the main shareholder, and the engineer R. J. Scaringe as its CEO. The original idea was conceived sometimes before 2009 and soon thereafter was turned into a real-lif project called Rivian. The company has in the meantime grown into an aggressive and financially strong challenger to Tesla who recently announced that it has raised an additional $ 2.65 billion in the latest round of IPO. That increases the company’s total funding to at least $ 8 billion, more than any previous U.S. automotive start-up. Delivery of the first electric models is scheduled to begin in mid-2021 and will be built at a renovated automanufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois. But that’s not all: the American electric car manufacturer wants to build a factory in Europe just like Tesla.
A little context to better illustrate the point: As is well known, Tesla has big plans in Grünheide, Germany. They want to build a huge factory to produce 500,000 cars a year, which will also become the largest battery factory. However, the construction of the Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin is stalled, according to reports leaking to the public. Insiders even talk about a “huge delay.” Five months before the planned start of production, crucial parts of the building were still missing and the application for a battery production permit had not yet been submitted to the state authority. According to the “Business Insider”, the underground infrastructure for electricity and water supply has not yet been built.
So when could one imagine a better time come for Rivian, as a young ambitious competitor of Tesla, to attack the current leader with his own factory built somewhere in Europe? In addition to the United Kingdom and Hungary, Germany is one of the possible potential venues of interest.
At the factory, Rivian initially intends to produce vans for the logistics giant Amazon and later also passenger cars.
Rivian is considered by experts to be a serious competitor of Tesla. Firstly, the company already has on its books a significant order for 100,000 electrical vans from its shareholder Amazon. And secondly, Rivian already has two finished car models. Production and delivery of the R1T pick-up is to begin in June, followed by the R1S SUV in August – a segment in which Tesla also has ambitious plans.
Thanks to this newly ordered electric vehicle fleet Amazon wants to become more independent of logistics giants such as UPS and DHL, and at the same time come much closer to its goal of delivering half of its shipments by 2030 completely without greenhouse gas emissions. R.J. Scaringe hopes to be able to start production of these small battery-powered trucks as early as 2022.
And so we are in for a very interesting battle among the gigantic manufacturers of electric cars, which will certainly be worth watching very closely!

 

Establishment of the Dutch branch GB Energy BV

Greenbuddies first service deliveries were to Germany; year after that Greenbuddies, s.r.o. had a modest fair stand at Solar Solutions International in Expo Haarlemmermeer near Amsterdam. Since than we are steadily increasing our construction volumes in the Netherlands.

In the course of time we came across with Jos Schlangen, an experienced Solar expert which is in the Dutch Solar industry since the industry itself started. Jos, previously working for at-that-time-solar-giants like Siemens or Shell, became our face to the Dutch & Belgian markets and he quickly gained respect and confidence by our clients. As a next logical step – together with more complex works which we also started to deliver became a decision to setup a local Dutch entity. Since December 2020 there is a joined local company called Greenbuddies Energy BV and we are adding more workforce to cope with the challenges of the fast growing market. Jos is not only leading the office but is also a shareholder to the company.
Apart from agile support of our construction, installation and time-to-time also EPC activities the new office backed with a strong international investor is mandated to create a pipeline of more than 100 MW of own PV projects within next 2-3 years, so we are looking for land and roofs which would be available for solar projects.

We are looking forward that you meet our Dutch team at the Greenbuddies stand of Solar Solutions 2021 in September this year!

 

Why should I invest into a photovoltaic plant?

Everybody is well aware of alarming carbon dioxide levels and other damaging impacts of human activities on Earth and most of the people in western affluant countries are trying to act environmental-friendly, whether it is by riding a bike to work or by waste sorting. But investment in renewable energies has been widely considered as noble but without financial support from the EU and governments unprofitable.

Indeed, a decade ago solar parks wouldn’t stand a chance against conventional generation from the economic perspective, if it wasn’t for heavy subsidies. However, as time went on, the costs of main components (especially modules) have been dropping exponentially. According to the annual report by IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) from 2019, the LCOE (levelised costs of electricity) for solar decreased by almost 90 % just within the last decade! Probably the most stunning fact is that solar is becoming the cheapest source of energy, even cheaper than fossil fuels, which can be seen in the figure below.

Source: IRENA; Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019: Latest Trends and DriversAvailable online: https://www.irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Webinars/2020/Jun/IRENAinsight-webinar_RPGC-in-2019-Overview.pdf?la=en&hash=80A08A29C8807989DC9DBA8E78E55B6124DC5E42 

The exponential decline hasn’t reached its bottom yet, but the rate is clearly slowing down. Moreover, once the policymakers realize that solar segment is viable in free market conditions, they will cut off the subsidies which are still available. Given all the data we have, it seems that now it’s the best time for investment in PV plant because the price of electricity grows steadily year after year. Hence, ownership of a PV plant ensures stable cash flow for a long time.

Investment in PV combines several benefits. Firstly, it makes your future electricity bills predictable and significantly lower if you fit the consumption to the size of the plant while protecting yourself from the increase of electricity costs. This also makes you less dependent on the grid availability. Secondly, you can use it for marketing purposes since you are powered by green energy. And thirdly and most imporantly, you can make decent money out of it when you simply decide to sell the generated energy to the grid.

Am I the right person?

Basically, you can install PV anywhere; field, meadow, landfill, water reservoir, flat roof, tilted roof and so on. All of these surfaces can be covered with panels. And if you are still hesitating whether western/central Europe is a suitable place for a PV plant then the graph below showing installed solar capacity in the Netherlands is self-explanatory.Source: TU Delft, Dutch Solar EnergyAvailable online: https://www.tudelft.nl/?id=59086&L=1 

 

 

Greenbuddies tips – January 2021 21.01.2021

Plug-in hybrids – support or threat to European climate goals?

In January 2020, in blissful ignorance, we witnessed an unprecedented drop in CO2 emissions from newly sold cars across Europe as well as significant increase in electric car sales. It was not that the drivers suddenly miraculously changed their preferences. The key reason was the legislation, as the long-awaited rules for reducing CO2 emissions for cars in 2020-21 came into force.​​​​​​​

They require car manufacturers to invest in clean technology, mostly in electric cars, and reduce carbon pollution from car sales to an average of 95 g/km. This has triggered massive investments on the part of manufacturers, the range of so-called plug-in models (vehicles with internal combustion engines equipped with an electric motor that charges from a socket) has expanded significantly, and the steep increase in sales followed quickly come as a result of all these changes.

Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, 2020 will go down in history as the year when electromobility in Europe began to gain momentum. There has never been a better time to buy a plug-in car, which for many customers who are afraid to buy purely battery-powered electric vehicles is a sort of optimal compromise between the quest for emission-free individual transport and the desire to sustain sufficient range (and therefore comfort) to which they have been accustomed. However, this state is far from ideal. You ask why? Well, precisely because half of the sales of electric vehicles are plug-in hybrids. We have to realize that these cars are not, in principle, designed to have zero emissions – they are mostly powered by combustion (and therefore pollution-producing) powertrains.

Therefore, experts fear that higher sales of cars with alternative propulsion could, as a result, increase CO2 emissions in operation more than previously expected. For instance, according to a joint study of the German Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Ifeu), the Ökoinstitut and the European Transport Association for Transport and the Environment commissioned by by the Federal Ministry of Environment in Berlin, this is mainly due to the high proportion of plug-in hybrids among the new vehicle registrations.

Plug-in hybrids, as already mentioned, use mainly an internal combustion engine in daily operation – and thus emit significantly more CO2 than stated with reference to the results of test measurements. According to one of the leading researchers at the Ökoinstitut, plug-in hybrids can be expected to produce an additional 4.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in the transport segment in 2030 in addition to the original market forecasts. And all this in a situation where, according to previous estimates, the transport sector would miss the original target of a maximum amount of CO2 for 2030 of 95 million tonnes by around 30 million tonnes.

According to the authors of the study, previous scenarios for the development of CO2 emissions in the transport sector derived the volume of emissions immediately after the official homologation of a given vehicle type. However, especially in the case of heavy hybrid plug-in models, the actual operation exceeds this value several times. In addition, the study states that about a third of newly registered hybrid plug-in vehicles are heavy SUVs or off-road vehicles, which are worse off in terms of environmental pollution than conventional lighter plug-in hybrids. The main reasons for the low portion of electric journeys in the total distance traveled are the lack of economic incentives for electric charging and the underdeveloped charging infrastructure. Another problem is the short range of electricity, especially for heavy vehicles.

The study advocates stricter conditions for the purchase of subsidized insurance premiums and tax benefits for plug-in hybrids. According to the document, discounts for plug-in hybrids should be related to “hard”, i.e. measurable criteria for purely electric driving range, electric performance and the evidence of regular charging. In addition, electric propulsion should be financially attractive to users. At the end of last year, for example, the German independent environmental agency Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) called for an end to government subsidies and tax subsidies for these types of vehicles. The reason was, among other things, a study by Transport & Environment, which found that CO2 emissions from three hybrid models tested in real operation were up to eight times higher than the values stated by the manufacturer.

So again like many times before, does it turn out that a hybrid solution, or compromise in other words, can actually be to the detriment rather than to the advantage?


Market opening in Belgium for Greenbuddies

Although Greenbuddies Energy BV and its head Jos Schlangen is responsible for the entire BeNeLux market until half of this year we haven’t explored the market in Belgium systematically and we did not have there any constructions (with one big exception of the mighty 71 MW Kristalpark).

This has changed as we recognised that several Belgian companies reacted on what we do in Holland. In one of the rare lockdown windows allowing to fly from Prague to Amsterdam and drive to Belgium we have flown in and together with Jos visited some of these interested companies. The interest proved to be genuine and since last quarter we are already building a few roof tops there on an EPC basis.
One of them is a project in Charleroi constructed on the roof of a shopping center. This is a technically difficult work of smaller dimension (250 kWp). For this application, we have chosen the Dutch mounting system Aerocompact, which offers a wide range of specialized products for photovoltaics. To offer higher quality services to our clients, we constantly try to improve our knowledge and skills, and for example our employees have undergone professional certification training with the Aerocompact assembly system in Holland. The construction of a structure of this size and complexity was planned with an obvious time buffer for 3 weeks, but as you all know the construction in photovoltaics is one of the fields that are strongly dependent and influenced by the weather. This fact manifested itself very strongly in this project. Heavy rainfall and a very sharp roof pitch (23 °), in combination challenged the deadline and cost us a lot of additional effort.

We had on mind the term promised to the client, and if these conditions occur, we always try to adapt the work as much as possible. Change the work schedule and complete at first the work that this weather allows (installation of cable trays in areas under the roof structure, installation of inverters etc.). The difficulty of work was not only determined by the weather. This project was on a very tall building with minimal space for equipment that could transport material on to the roof, so we must have rented a special car with a hydraulic arm (crane track) to transport the material.The last details on this project are being completed and will be handed over to the client, who seemed to be pleased by our efforts as he understood the complexity of the project, bad weather and very good and fast communication.

It seems that the Belgian market is promising and that we have opened a good path to 4-5 strong clients there, who would appreciate our flexibility, fairness, project management skills and ability to effectively source right people and components

With this article, we would like to wish you a lot of professional and personal success in 2021, interesting and useful projects and such good clients as Greenbuddies has.


Hindsight is year 2020

Surely everyone at the beginning of the 2020 expressed to everyone of his friends, families, business contacts a wishes of healthy and prosperous year. However approaching March we all knew already that this will be a year like no other.

From a health perspective in 2020 the COVID – 19 phenomenon fortunately did not adversely affect anyone from the Greenbuddies. Counting the numbers at the end of the year we have also did not experience any slowdown. Moreover, we went up with our revenues comparing to 2019.

The main difference we experienced was in the way how we started to work during 2021:

 – Keeping track of ever-changing regulations in all our target countries + in our home country
 – Finding innovative ways how to work with these regulations
 – Project managers spending much more uninterrupted time in the target countries
 – Sales meetings over MS Teams, Skype, Zoom instead of talking in person (which I am personally missing a lot)
 – Home officing
 – Testing, testing, testing
 – Emergency – quarantine – relief when it proved the emergency alarm was fortunately false
Etc., etc., etc.

First 4 months were entirely according to our plan. After that we arrived into the period when the home offices at the governmental entities started to affect the approval processes, there appeared hiccups in delivery of panels: 2-3 following months became difficult. For the rest of the year I cannot use other word than „hectic“, many important and complex projects coming at the last moment.

I would namely express thanks to our clients to continue trusting us in this challenging year. Due to the agility of the customers, their vision, ability to adopt to new circumstances our financial result is in 2020 even better than last year. For the same reason our committed pipeline for 2021 is even stronger than at the beginning of last year already.
In the course of 2020 we have been able to strengthen the internal structure adding Purchasing department and standardised Quality management into our organisation structure etc. This allowed to deliver most complex projects with all the components, open 2 more countries (Belgium, France) and enter full speed to a biggest carport/EV Charging project of its kind in Austria.

This time it will work: Have a Healthy and prosperous year 2021!


 

Market Footprint 4Q 2020 19.01.2021

 

Good afternoon,
 
First of all we would like to wish you happy and healthy new year 2021.

Since November we are in the most demanding season of the year. A lot of rain and snow on our jobsite. Despite the very unfavorable weather conditions, we are glad that our professional work team has done a great job.   
 
Last quarter we got completed over 353 MWp since our start in 2018. Details you can see – as every quarter – in our Market footprint.
 
Feel free to send us an inquiry of our services!  We are looking forward to further cooperation.

Best regards

Greenbuddies tips – December 2020 22.12.2020

Hydrogen or electricity – what has a better chance of taking your place under the Sun?

In the current issue of our newsletter, I have decided to address at least briefly the controversial topic, which has for long divided the motoring public into two very opinion-based camps, and which probably does not yet have a clear answer. When it comes to the question what will replace fossil fuels in our cars in the future, either hydrogen or electricity would be mentioned most often. While classic battery electric cars are quite well known, with hydrogen it is different. So what is a “hydrogen” car?
It should be emphasized right from the beginning that this is not actually “hydrogen versus electricity” at all. Every hydrogen car is also an electric car. However, the energy for driving the electric motor does not flow from the battery, but from the fuel cell. The principle of operation of a fuel cell – known to mankind for 200 years – sounds like pure sci-fi to most of us. Nevertheless – yes, there is a device that converts the supplied hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. Hydrogen is fed to the anode and oxygen to the cathode. Between the anode and cathode is an electrolyte or PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) membrane. The only waste is clean water and heat, and that sounds great! Another good news is that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, where it forms the bulk of all substance. Hydrogen is all around us, there is plenty of it everywhere. It is the fuel for all the stars in all the galaxies. However, there is a small issue – we cannot extract hydrogen as oil or gas. This element is all around us, but only in compound form. So we have to produce and store free isolated hydrogen. Both are complicated and expensive.
However, by far not everyone believes that battery electric vehicles (BEV) are the right way to go, especially because of the infrastructure and the load requirements on the electricity grid. This can be clearly seen in the strategies of some car manufacturers. While announcing billions in investment in electromobility development and competing to introduce new electric cars, they are also investing in the development of hydrogen propulsion. What if it turned out that BEV are not the right way to go? Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai or Daimler – they all have real hydrogen cars on the market and are making significant progress in hydrogen mobility. Daimler, for example, estimates that in 2050 hydrogen will be used as a source of energy by slightly less than 20 percent of vehicles, although even in Stuttgart, they consider hydrogen having a future more so in freight transport rather than in passenger traffic.
On the other hand, the VW Group has clearly taken the side of BEV, simply put, mainly due to the much higher efficiency of batteries compared to a fuel cell. The Wolfsburg-based manufacturer has formed its opinion on the basis a study by the renowned consulting company Horváth & Partners, which concluded that while battery cars have an efficiency of 70% to 80%, for a fuel cell it amounts only to 25% to 35%. Much of the energy is lost in the electrolysis process, which is the most common method of hydrogen production.
Proponents of fuel cell cars point out to indisputable advantages, especially the short time needed to fill hydrogen in the tank (comparable to the time we spend on refilling conventional gasoline or diesel) and the relatively long range. So what is the situation today in terms of these two key parameters?

Driving range
This is the first question of many people about an important parameter of electric car performance. Once the answer is less than 500 kilometers, they often lose interest in the car, although not always rightly so. The average daily range of the vast majority of drivers is in the lower tens of kilometers. The mentality of us drivers, however, focuses on maximizing the driving range, and hydrogen cars are to some extent a better answer than BEV. Their range is still somewhat higher than in today’s electric cars.
Hyundai NEXO promises, for example, 600 kilometers, Toyota Mirai about 500. But it is not always the case – for example, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell will ride “only” 350 kilometers at one refueling. Very generally spoken, a kilogram of hydrogen in high-pressure tanks will last for about 100 kilometers. Today’s best electric cars will actually cover 400 to 500 kilometers, which is no longer such a considerable difference. In addition, a look under the hood of a Mercedes GLC F-Cell shows that hydrogen cars are more complicated than battery cars.

Refiling and charging time
Fast refilling is the biggest advantage of hydrogen cars. It doesn’t take much longer than with conventional internal combustion cars – about a kilogram per minute. So you will spend about five minutes at the filling stand. This is a huge difference compared to tens of minutes even with “fast charging” electric car stations. However, this big advantage of hydrogen cars may soon disappear. The Tesla Supercharger V3, for instance, can handle 250 kW of charging. IONITY has already 350 kW stations, which will rapidly reduce the time you have to spend at charging stations. Nonetheless, we have to yet wait for models that will be able to handle such a high-power and high-speed charging. One such is the Porsche Taycan and others will surely come. Let’s not forget that the advantage of electric cars is the ability to get recharged anywhere, even from a normal Shuko 230 V outlet. So if you live in a family house, you can leave every morning with a full battery without losing time. No hydrogen vehicle can compete with that.
Of course, the issue of comparing the two forms of vehicle propulsion of the future is much more complicated – let’s think only of the infrastructure of electro-charging or hydrogen filling stations. A major problem in the development of electromobility will be the insufficient capacity of distribution networks. When many BEVs should charge at high speed at once, it would require a robust supply of energy, which can be a problem in some locations. On the other hand, hydrogen filling stations deployment are also not exactly a cheap and easy task – judging at least by the plan of leading German and world industrialists that there should be more than 400 hydrogen filling stations in Germany by 2023. This ambitious plan would require a total investment of around € 350 million.
In conclusion, hydrogen propulsion certainly has some advantages. However, these will be likely eliminated in a few years by a new generation of electric cars and chargers. Yes, there are still many questions, but current developments speak in favor of electric cars. While more than three-quarters of a million battery-electric cars were sold worldwide in 2018, only 7,000 hydrogen cars were registered by respective authorities. Therefore, their future will probably reside mainly in freight transport, or even public (for example, long-haul) bus or train transport, i.e. wherever very long journeys in “non-stop” mode and fast re-fuelling are needed.


Financial aspects PV projects

Being in PV for 12 years we have seen many at that time strong companies gone bust because of under estimating the level of working capital, cash flow management or the bankability. We are aware of the risks associated with it since the beginning of our market presence. Our Clients need a healthy supplier to keep up with long term warranty obligations so we introduced already from 2017 strong rules regarding financial aspects of the PV projects.
Also our belief is that only fair win-win approach is a long-term viable and beneficial for both our clients and our suppliers. These rules which we keep are the following:

  • We build offers bottom up.
    Although certainly we follow the market levels, we build the quotations based on understanding what are the fair cost, fair margin and fair salary of everyone in the our supplier value chain.
  • Positive cash flow of each project.
    We try intend avoid pre-financing the projects and keep always our operations at least little bit cash positive. This allows us to build several projects in parallel where working capital is not a limiting factor.
  • We have at least minimum positive margin on each service we provide.
    On every service we provide duly identify the real cost and add margin on top. Margins keep our company running and alive.
  • We strictly pay our suppliers on time according to the agreed contract.
    We believe that the benefits resulting from this approach where the workers and subcontractor can rely on us keeping the due dates overweight’s the benefits from financing internal structure through subcontractors. Like that we can build stable teams and long term partnerships who provide for our customers required excellence in quality.
  • We never close cartels, we never go for dumping pricing.
    We are ethical in what we do – we believe only ethical approach keep strong relations and good position on the market.

Our general rule in project finance management is to go to the detail of each individual situation and understand motivations and internal dynamic of what we do. The Client is our first priority but also our Worker is our first priority. If the Worker is happy and doing the job properly the customer is satisfied also.


Mud and other inconveniences on the construction site

Since November we are in the most demanding part of season. Not only because of number of projects, Megawatts build but also because of the weather. Since then till end March we need to count with tons of water coming down. The weather profile differs between South Germany, France and Holland, but the ultimate risk of bobcat locked in morass, box of panels sinking together with Merlo in the mud, work stopped because of ice on the roof, road lost under meter of new snow – in that season – is high. Also this year our crews are fighting with the hectolitres of rain. This is all part of our unstoppable attitude.

However – the start is earlier: we provide a quotation to the client typically 2-3 months earlier, so it means during nice summer long days. To be precise we check the length of the sunlight in December, typical rain profile in November and snowload of January… And then we preise that this year is statistically similar. And we also hope that just this Client appreciates that the conditions are too extreme and understands that the work takes longer and is more costly.

We love the work, our staff copes with difficulties but sometimes its really not easy:


Dear Business Partners,
How time flies! The festive season is upon us once again. It is a time to enjoy the closeness of family and friends, to savour the year that has passed, and to look forward to what lies ahead. Within this spirit, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the trust you placed in us in 2020, and which we hope you will continue to do so in 2021.
We wish you a delightful, peaceful Christmas in the presence of loved ones, and good health, happiness and success in the new year.

Greenbuddies tips – November 2020 22.11.2020

Škoda Enyaq iV

The new Škoda Enyaq iV – a milestone in the transition to electromobility in the Czech market?

The focus of the largest domestic manufacturer Škoda Auto on launching new electrically powered models undoubtedly plays a key role in the further development of electromobility in Europe, but especially in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In September of this year, we registered one of the carmaker’s most important steps on its path to transformation towards the production of electric models. Quite possibly, one of the most important models in the entire history of Škoda was introduced. The Enyaq iV is the first Škoda car designed from the ground up to as a fully electric car.

Although neither Škoda Enyaq iVthe longest nor the fastest, it will be the Škoda with the highest base price. The new Enyaq iV will become the flagship of the Czech carmaker and also wants to be the model bringing new automotive trends.
Despite being shorter than the new Octavia (a lower-middle-class model), the Enyaq looks like a premium value car on the outside, whose presence on the road is emphasized by a backlit front radiator grille.
The group’s chassis base for electric cars, ID.3 , first launched by Volkswagen this autumn, is essentially reminiscent of a skateboard. There are batteries located in the floor between the axes, the driving power is provided by an electric motor, which is only at the rear of the basic versions of Enyaq, and therefore drives the rear wheels. In case of higher class versions also at the front which makes them logically all-wheel drives.
In addition to various configurations of electric motors, this concept allows you to play with a variety of battery capacities. The basic version has a capacity of about 50 kWh, it will be available, however, only in foreign markets. In the Czech Republic, only the larger “sixty” will be available with a usable capacity of 58 kWŠkoda Enyaq iVh and a range of 390 km. The one electric motor will be located in the rear, and its power is 132 kW.
The true variability of the MEB platform is shown by the Enyaq 80 version. It has a usable capacity of 77 kWh and in the basic version with a 150 kW electric motor at the rear, it will travel up to 510 km on a single charge.
The basic version can perform fast charging with an output of 50 kW, but the top variants can handle 125 kW, which  means that from 5 to 80 percent of the capacity, you will charge in just 38 minutes. Other important parameter is the power of the on-board charger, which is a solid 11 kW. That means that when hooked up to a sufficiently strong wallbox you will be able to charge from zero to full in six or eight hours, depending on the version.
Enyaq therefore seems to be versatile enough for practical life. Thanks to the large batteries, it will have a sufficiently long driving range and recharging should be fast enough to make even longer journeys possible. Consumption will be reduced by a heat pump, which will heat the cabin with waste heat from the battery in winter.
The interior is unusually high grade for Škoda, but all the more pleasantly luxurious. The materials work very well, the dashboard is sewn with leather. The car’s control center is a 13-inch display in the middle of the instrument panel, whose design looks the same as the new Octavia, but has specific features related to emobility. Almost everything is controlled through the display, including air conditioning, driving modes and so on, but at least six small buttons remain under the central ventilation vents for quick selection.
The ŠkŠkoda Enyaq iVoda Enyaq iV will be offered in a wide range of versions and performance alternatives. As already mentioned, the basic version of the iV 50 with an output of 109 kW and a 55 kWh battery will not be sold in the Czech Republic, in our country the entry model is based on a 62 kWh battery with an output of 132 kW. If you need more power and capacity, you can choose the iV 80 version with an output of 150 kW and a battery with a capacity of 82 kWh (usable 77 kWh).
With the Enyaq iV model, Škoda returns to the rear-wheel drive in the case of single-engine versions. However, there will also be an 80X ATV with two electric motors and a combined power of 225 kW (75 kW at the front, 150 kW at the rear). Only with all-wheel drive will there be an RS iV version, which will offer 80X power but more dynamic characteristics. That’s why the Škoda RS version gives an acceleration from zero to 100 in 6.2 seconds, while the 80X will achieve the same speed in seven seconds.
While the market will probably see in the new Enyaq – thanks to an already decent range and a reasonably short fast charging time – an equivalent alternative to powerful SUVs with diesel engines, we, i.e. experts and companies working to create conditions for smooth transition to electromobility believe that the brand new model of the key Czech carmaker will become a significant first milestone on the road to an emission-free traffic on our roads and highways.

 

„Unusable“ soil as a basis for photovoltaic power plants

Already in the September edition, we mentioned the construction of a photovoltaic power plant at a landfill in the north of the Netherlands (project Bovenveld). This construction has been successfully completed, handed over to the client and the land, which was difficult to use for other purposes, has now a capacity of 7 MWp of Solar power and will supply electricity to the surrounding buildings.

The use of landfills is considerably limited due to the possibility of gas formation, the content of heavy metals and hazardous compounds, the uncertain stability of the subsoil at higher loads and more. The photovoltaic power plant therefore seems to be an ideal economic use. However, it is not just about economic potential. It is an effort to underline and multiply the positive environmental impacts of solar power plants in terms of clean energy by increasing the efficiency of solar panels with new materials and technologies, increase the recyclability of panels, but choosing a photovoltaic power plant location can create a very smart environmental solution. Advantages of constructing the PV plants on recultivated landfill is partially compensated by the need for high level of experience in the construction of these systems and compliance with stricter legislative requirements so as to prevent leakage of contaminated water or soil from the subsoil. The first legislative requirement implemented in this project was a layer of steel slag, which strengthens the surface and separates the landfill environment. A special safety feature that relates to the possible leakage of gases from the landfill body was the use of electrical work machines to prevent the possibility of explosion.
In the previous construction, 2 types of under-constructions were used due to the irregular terrain. In the current project, located in the Netherlands near the town of Eerbeek, only Sunbeam structures were used, which require a flat base, as their original use is for flat roofs.
We are delivering since mid-September also other interesting landfill project of a similar size to be connected end of this year for a customer and at a location which we are not allowed to disclose.  The energy obtained at the landfill will supply 1,600 local households. Good planning in the implementation of the project ensured not only the ecological and economic benefits of using the old landfill, its sufficient security, but also, for example, the incorporation of an infiltration pond for rainwater until the created subsoil becomes impermeable. The aesthetic aspect of the project was also considered, when due to the terrain and the planting of slopes with plants, the power plant will hardly be visible.
Interest in the use of old landfills for the production of energy from renewable sources is becoming increasingly popular and it is not only about solar energy, but often about combinations with the use of biogas, which are generated in the landfill by decomposition of waste (see picture below). Progressive markets in this direction are countries that have been using renewables and green energy for a long time and where a well-thought-out infrastructure is being created, where brownfields, landfills and large roof areas are mainly used for the construction of solar power plants, for example. As our company is headquartered in Prague we believe that in the Czech Republic these projects will be also more implemented in the near future and we will be able to utilise our experience from abroad to improve ecological progress in our country in the field of solar energy production.

Best Practices for Siting Solar Photovoltaics on Municipal Solid Waste LandfillsSource: Michaud, William & Kiatreungwattana, Kosol & Mosey, Gail & Jones-Johnson, Shea & Dufficy, Craig & Bourg, Joe & Conroy, Angela & Keenan, Meghan & Brown, Katie. (2013). Best Practices for Siting Solar Photovoltaics on Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. 10.13140/RG.2.1.2665.6408.

 

New Project managers on Board of Greenbuddies

Greenbuddies is again growing in available skills and knowledge.
We have 2 new project managers since Summer:

Martin is circulating Germany, Holland and Belgium taking care of various solar projects in these countries and Pavel is responsible for a first larger EPC project in the area of Automotive solutions within Greenbuddies Charging in Austria.

Project manager Martin Berka

Project Manager Martin Berka1)  How would you describe the challenge of your first project for Greenbuddies?
Martin Berka (MB): The main challenge in my first “own” project was completing all of our tasks on time, because the term was really ambitious. We got it. 😊
2) Before working at Greenbuddies, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? 
MB: My lovely job I remember was teaching young swimmers in Australia. A guy from inland teached swimming in Mecca of water sports.
3) If you could pick one theme for Greenbuddies to turn into a book about the company, what would it be? MB: I would like to describe how to manage turning impossible to reality in few days/hours.

4) If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see? 
MB:
Not really a historical event but I would like to live in 1900 to see the technical progress.
5) What is your hidden talent?
MB: I can asleep everywhere, when I going by public transport longer than 3 stops, I will asleep. I missed my final stop two times only!
6) What is your favourite travel spot?
MB: Zakarpattia Oblast (region) – abandoned hills, large forests, delicious food! A paradise for backpackers close to Czech republic.

 

Project manager Pavel Skála

Project Manager Pavel Skála1)  How would you describe the challenge of your first project for Greenbuddies?
Pavel Skála (PS): After more than 28 years of my professional experience at big corporate companies in Automotive business and water turbine business, I joined now Greenbuddies charging, where we started with quite challenging project on EPC level in Austria market. Here is the scope of supply on high challenging level – design, supply, installation, commissioning and service contract for the Austrian customer.
2) Before working at Greenbuddies, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
PS: My the most unsual job was negotiation and signing of the contracts of hydro equipment on EPC level of delivery for Customer from Nepal Country.
3) If you could pick one theme for Greenbuddies to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?
PS: Large experiences in installation and commissioning of PV project with very good future.
4) If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see? !
PS: I would like to see the possibility  of the human representatives landing on the Mars …
5) What is your hidden talent?
PS: My hidden tallent are negotiation skills of West, East European customers and more than 10 years of experiences with B2B and/or B2C business on Asian market.
6) What is your favourite travel spot?
PS: Caribeean island like ARUBA, Bonair, Martinique or Hawai Island but this one in dreams level only …

 

 

Greenbuddies tips – October 2020 20.10.2020

Electrification project for Engie – Greenbuddies Charging selected for installation services

More than half a year ago we decided at Greenbuddies Charging to expand outside our typical target segment of corporate clients. We were approached by Engie EPS from Italy, which concluded a global framework contract for the supply of electrical installation services for end clients of the FCA Group, including Fiat, Jeep, electromobility support among global brands – basically all prominent players are trying to increase sales of their new electric models by offering additional service packages. In this case, FCA resellers will offer end customers the opportunity to purchase an additional services containing the installation of a specific model of charger from the ENGIE portfolio, supplied by their subsidiary EV Box. In practice, an authorized dealer will offer interested customers desired electric car from the FCA portfolio as well as the opportunity to supply and install a home charger. These are so-called “Wallboxes”, which are typically mounted on the wall in a garage at your home or in the underground parking lots of companies using electric fleets. If the client shows interest, the seller will fill in a basic questionnaire and, based on the information obtained and the electric car model selected, he or she will offer the customer specific type of charger. I would like to emphasize that the offer will be really wide – from the basic Plug & Play version called Easy Wallbox, which does not need professional installation and connects into an ordinary 230 V socket to 22 kW installed power chargers with smart charging control preventing overload breakdowns.
If the client agrees, his/her contact details will be handed over to a certified installation company, which – after going through a pre-check procedure to determine the condition of the electrical infrastructure at the installation site – shall dispatch a technician to carry out the installation itself. At first glance, it looks quite simple, but as you probably guess, it is by far not that trivial. The selected installation company must meet the strict requirements of Engie. Installation technicians must be professionally trained and certified for the installation of the relevant EV Box chargers, authorized Engie partners must based on signed SLA comply with stringent criteria for the timeliness and quality of services provided and, among other things, operate a customer service telephone line.
We are very pleased that Engie EPS has chosen Greenbuddies Charging as its exclusive authorized installation partner for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. To meet demanding requirements of our Italian partner, we chose to team up with our supplier Elexim from Kroměříž, which has over the past three years developed into a major supplier of chargers of various brands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Its clients include major companies from various industries, including e.g. Škoda Auto.
We are currently finishing preparations for this business opportunity and are all looking forward to the official launch of new models of battery or hybrid cars from the FCA portfolio in both our markets. Who would not get tempted to test a brand new battery-powered “Cinquecento” from Fiat or the hybrid Renegade model from the legendary Jeep?
I would like wish our team as many smooth installations as possible and only happy customers!

 

Project Kemnath

Last month we successfully completed the project in Germany, near the Czech borders by the small town of Kemnath. It was an opportunity to get familiar with MKG substructure on a smaller system of 1,26 MW – and it went really well, the whole project finishing a few days ahead of schedule.
The construction was very well prepared by the client so it wasn’t problematic for us to comply with all the deadlines, which were however quite strict – according to the schedule we were supposed to finish on Saturday and already on Monday commissioning of the first electric part on the DC site was scheduled. Thanks to finishing our work a couple days in advance, all participants were satisfied.
The construction which was used for this project was provided by the manufacturer MKG that has years of experience with construction of solar parks and their construction expertise is proven by the years of its functional use. And so despite the fact that it was our first park with this very specific type of construction from MKG, there was no problem with its completion. Apart from very detailed documentation, the manufacturer also provided their representatives who were very helpful during the first days of the work.
The location where the power plant is located is covered by forest in the north and facing the sun in the south – this allows the maximization of the energy yield. Soil was very soft. This meant the advantage for ramming, which proceeded quite fast, however we needed to minimize the power on the ramming machine not to ramm the piles too deep. On the other hand we didn’t underestimate the preparation and in anticipation of rainy weather, we had prepared the chain machinery, which is absolutely necessary on slippery and muddy terrain.
Above all precise ramming is crucial to a ground-mounted project . Therefore we were personally present during this phase and we were supervising the quality of the work being carried out. Once the mounting of the substructure started, everything went very smoothly. To satisfy the wish of the client and to make sure we would finish within the given time by the end of the construction phase we sent in almost 3 times more workers than had been present during the first days. Thanks to our ability to scale up the workforce when needed and our skills and experience with completion of solar parks, we handed over the powerplant several days before the planned handover date.
Thanks to the happiness of the client with our work we are currently carrying out2 considerably bigger projects for the client.

 

Presenting a new member of GB team

Jorrit Groen

We are getting more and more involved into the Dutch market: this market is a key market for Greenbuddies since solar is increasing in popularity and strongly subsidized. Therefore it proved we need to have excellent people on ground in Holland to get close on new opportunities . From October this year Jorrit Groen joined the team. He is coming from Solar industry and we believe that he will push our achievements on Dutch, Belgian and Luxemburg markets further.

Aleš Spáčil: Jorrit, may I ask you several questions?
1)
What is the main difference between working for a Dutch company and working for a foreign company?
Jorrit Groen (JG):
Well, since the corona outbreak there is actually no difference, we all work at home. But of course there is the language and cultural difference. Working abroad and working for an foreign company is not new to me. I’ve always liked working with different cultures.
2) What would you do for living if there were no renewable energies?
JG:
I’d probably be selling software solutions. I like to sell ‘solutions’ and I like software. But I’d might also still be on Borneo working for a NGO saving the sea and all what’s in it. I’ve been doing that for a month on a small island close to Borneo, restoring and creating artificial coral reefs. (scubadiving is one of my favourite hobby’s)
3) Who are your models in doing Sales; can you name some “gurus”, maybe even globally?
JG:
1. Simon Sinek. Famous for his vision on ‘why’, golden circle ‘why, how, what‘. (also great for your personal life)
2. Jim Collins. Famous for his bestseller: “Good to Great!“
3. Of course Napoleon Hill: “ Think and grow rich”. Everybody should read that and find out what the meaning of ‘rich’ is.
4) You are travelling a lot for work, what is your most favourite location elsewhere and in particular in the Benelux countries?
JG:
Of course I’d love to say Prague. 😊 But, my last visit to you guys was so short, and was my first so I need to get a full experience with Prague first, I hope soon. In Benelux I like Bruges and all bigger cities near coast since I really love kitesurfing, the bigger the waves the better.
5) Who, from environment around you is helping most in your mission?
JG:
Oeh, tough one, to be honest, in my circle of friends and family I am the only one that’s thinking about the environment. But I’d say my girlfriend Nikki, she has no clue what I’m doing (she’s a surgeon) but she’s always willing to hear my stories (and pretend she understands) and she’s proud of the things I’ve achieved.